Many good stories have been told about a mother’s love and how strong her instincts are to protect her young. Jeff Schuckers, of Triple S Quarter Horses in Valley View, Texas, knows first hand just how deep that love can run.
Earlier this year, one of Schuckers’ broodmares, Smart Little Talocha, a daughter of Smart Little Jerry out of Schuckers’ 20-year-old King Ranch-bred mare Talocha Chiquita, began to have health issues toward the end of her pregnancy. Schuckers’ veterinarian didn’t know what was wrong with the mare and despite all they tried to do, her health continued to decline. Schuckers feared he may have to put the mare down.
During the entire time, Talocha Chiquita, who had already foaled this year, stayed close to her pregnant daughter’s side. The two of them would often be seen together and separated from the other mares in the pasture.
After Smart Little Talocha foaled a pretty blue roan filly, sired by Once In A Blu Boon, the weak mare struggled to stand long enough to feed the foal. She separated herself and her foal from the rest of the herd with the exception of the filly’s granddam. Talocha Chiquita never left her daughter’s side.
Sadly, when the filly was about 1 month old, Schucker found her nursing on Talocha Chiquita, as the mare stood over her deceased daughter’s body. Worried that, at her age and condition, Talocha Chiquita might not be able to nurse her own foal and her granddaughter, Schucker weaned Talocha Chiquita’s foal, who was 4 months old at the time. Schucker’s vet suggested getting a wet mare to nurse the orphan foal, but when they tried introducing a nurse mare, neither the foal nor Talocha Chiquita would have anything to do with it.
“She [Talocha Chiquita] basically ‘blew up’ and acted as if she was going to tear the place down to get to the orphan foal,” Schucker said.
Schucker has noticed some personality similarities between Talocha Chiquita and her granddaughter, whose pending registered name is Blu Berry.
“The King Ranch mare has always had a dominant personality in the pasture and had a very confident personality in the show pen,” Schucker said. “She always liked to play a lot when she was turned out and we are seeing the orphaned foal showing a lot of the same traits as her granddam. She is very playful and full of energy.”
The mare and her adopted foal are fed a special mare and foal feed three times a day and are on free-choice alfalfa. Schucker said Talocha Chiquita has gained about 150 pounds and the foal is doing very well.
Schucker, who is the pastor of Cooke County Cowboy Church and Spring Creek Cowboy Church, has bred and trained horses for about 20 years. He said his future plans for Blu Berry are to train and show her in the cutting pen.